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The effect of fiber surface treatments on the tensile and water sorption properties of polypropylene-luffa fiber composites
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The effects of coupling agents on the mechanical, morphological, and water sorption properties of luffa fiber (LF)/polypropylene(PP) composites were studied. In order to enhance the interfacial interactions between the PP matrix and the luffa fiber, three different types of coupling agents, (3-aminopropyl)-triethoxysilane (AS), 3-(trimethoxysilyl)-1-propanethiol (MS), and maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (MAPP) were used. The PP composites containing 2-15 wt% of LF were prepared in a torque rheometer. The tensile properties of the untreated and treated composites were determined as a function of filler loading. Tensile strength and Young's modulus increased with employment of the coupling agents accompanied by a decrease in water absorption with treatment due to the better adhesion between the fiber and the matrix. The maximum improvement in the mechanical properties was obtained for the MS treated LF composites. The interfacial interactions improved the filler compatibility, mechanical properties, and water resistance of composites. The improvement in the interfacial interaction was also confirmed by the Pukanszky model. Good agreement was obtained between experimental data and the model prediction. Morphological studies demonstrated that better adhesion between the fiber and the matrix was achieved especially for the MS and AS treated LF composites. Atomic force microscope (AFM) studies also showed that the surface roughness of LFs decreased with the employment of silane-coupling agents.